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What’s So Great about Football?

by Jamie Nichols 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Urban Youth International Journalism Program, which is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation.

People take off their clothes and paint their bodies in the freezing cold just to show their loyalty to their team. This is football. I can’t believe how many people are so loyal to their teams. I love football and I play football but I would not do all of that. It seems to me that football is our country’s most popular sport, based on how many people talk about it.

I interviewed students and teachers at Robeson High School about their views on football.

Amber M. Stoker is a 24-year-old City Year staffer at Robeson. She loves football because of the physical contact and her favorite team is the Chicago Bears. She has never been to an NFL game but she’s been to high school games. Even though she likes the sport, she knows that injuries are a serious problem. She knew someone who had a football scholarship to college but it was messed up because of an injury.

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It’s Time to Focus on Bullying

by Jarimah Dilworth 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Urban Youth International Journalism Program, which is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation.

Bullying. Why is it treated as a tragedy only when it results in death? Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. But it seems like that’s what it takes for people to open their eyes to the consequences of bullying. We should stay on top of this issue even when it doesn’t result in suicide. We shouldn’t let it fade away and only come back when someone commits suicide – saying “now it’s a big issue.” Wrong! It’s a big issue when the kid is feeling alone. it’s a big issue when the kid fears coming to school because of bullying and it is a big issue when the thought of suicide crosses a child’s mind.

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Meet the Real Robeson High School

by Secret Blackman 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Urban Youth International Journalism Program, which is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation.

How is it really at Robeson High School in the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side? A lot of people misjudge Robeson because of what they see on the news. Many people might think all Robeson students don’t know anything and fight every day. But what they don’t know is that many kids in Robeson have great talents and are very smart. I currently attend Robeson and it’s very different than what people say. I interviewed some Robeson students to give a fuller picture of the student body, their views on the school, and the violence that is an issue in Englewood.

Shanika Chavis is a freshman who works after school and likes to “goof off with friends.” She said there are not too many gangs at Robeson. She wants to be a teacher because she likes to help people. She said the school “is interesting because you learn different things and you can use them later on in life.” She thinks gangbanging is “stupid and makes no sense.” There are “wild students” at Robeson but added that “if they were more focused on their work they could be better students.” She thinks the school could change for the better if people were “more focused on the kids instead of their behavior.”

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Healthy Ways to Fight Lead Poisoning

by Makylia Anderson 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in the Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with Imagine Englewood If, a youth services organization based in that South Side neighborhood.

Every year in October, Imagine Englewood If (IEI) participates in “Make a Difference Day.” On “Make a Difference Day,” people from all over the country do something to change others’ lives in a positive way. On Oct. 29 of last year, IEI put together an event for people living in the Englewood community to inform them of the dangers of lead poisoning. “Englewood has the highest percentage of people in the nation who are affected by lead poisoning,” said Jean Carter Hill, Executive Director of IEI.

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Mayor Emanuel Booed at Budget Town Hall

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel tries to calm audience members who booed him at a town hall meeting on the City's budget at Kennedy King College on August 30, 2011. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte

Mayor Rahm Emanuel was jeered and booed by many of the people who arrived early at Kennedy King College on August 30, 2011, in hopes of getting their concerns heard and addressed at the first of two public town hall meeting on the city’s budget.

Upon arrival, people learned that they had to fill out questionnaire cards rather than speak directly to the mayor. In a display of sheer disappointment, several people in the crowded main auditorium began loudly complaining about how they were denied the opportunity to speak, while the mayor attempted to answer some of the handwritten questions, which were read to him by Cheryl Hyman, the chancellor of the City Colleges, instead of the people who actually wrote the questions on the cards. Read more »

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On the Campaign Trail with Che “Rhymefest” Smith

by Cornelius Jordan 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in the Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with Imagine Englewood If, a youth services organization based in that South Side neighborhood:

Driving around Englewood, pointing out empty lots on Feb. 18, Che “Rhymefest” Smith talked about how these used to be houses. He said he wants to transform the neighborhood and make it a clean and safe environment for kids to play in. He said the neighborhood has no love and care in it, but he wants to change that.

Che 'Rhymefest' Smith on the campaign trail. Photo courtesy of Smith's campaign web site.

Smith is running for alderman of the 20th ward in the April 5 run-off election, after he got 20 percent of the vote in the primary election in February. His opponent is incumbent Willie Cochran. Smith is a Grammy-award-winning rapper, who has met

famous people including Ciara, Bow Wow and Rick Ross. But now, he says he wants to focus his attention on serving his community.

As he went door to door campaigning, some of the gates were locked. He and his assistant put campaign fliers on the locked gates and his assistant rang every doorbell where the gates were unlocked, until she got an answer. For ones with no answer, they would come back the next day. Smith was determined to reach every voter. In his office, he had maps with circles around the homes he’d already been to. After covering an entire block, Smith and his supporters got back into the white van decorated with his name and drove to the next block. Read more »

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Youths Speak Out on Violence

by Trevor Hill 

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in the Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with Imagine Englewood If, a youth services organization based in that South Side neighborhood:

Mayor Richard M. Daley spoke at the Hope World event held at Sherman Park on July 30, 2010. Over 2,000 volunteers across the United States attended this event and talked about their efforts to reduce violence in the schools and communities.

RJ's Urban Youth International Journalism student Trevor Hill with Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley after the Hope World event at Sherman Park on July 30, 2010. Photo courtesy of Jean Hill

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